It is estimated that carbohydrate loading can improve performance over a set distance by 2-3%.

Carbohydrate loading is a training strategy used by athletes prior to exercise in an effort to increase body stores of available glycogen.  Glycogen fuels the muscles. Usually large amounts of carbohydrate rich foods are consumed for several days before an event.

 Carb-loading is most beneficial for endurance athletes who engage in activities of 90 minutes or more in duration and can be done for 3 days with the final pre-event day Friday spent resting.

Tips for Carb- Loading Correctly:

• Eat primarily carbohydrates (70%) little protein, limit fats[image animation=”” size=”half” align=”alignright” alt=”” title=””][/image]

• Eat reasonably, don’t overeat

• Exercise less, conserve glycogen stores

• Drink more fluids

• Consume a pre-event meal (balance blood sugars)

In order to consume the necessary amount of carbohydrate, it is necessary to cut back on fibre and make use of compact sources of carbohydrate such as sugar, cordial, sports drink, jam, honey, jelly and tinned fruit.

Do not include too many high fibre foods in their carbohydrate loading you may suffer stomach upset.

Use fruit that is low in fibre ie bananas or remove fibrous skin from fruit.

Athletes commonly use carbohydrate loading as an excuse to eat everything and anything in sight.  Consuming too many high fat foods will make it difficult to consume sufficient carbohydrate.  It may also result in gain of body fat.  It is important to stick to high-carbohydrate; low-fat foods while carbohydrate loading.

Author: Paula Mc Elligott


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